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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

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iv                         THE CHURCH OF S, IRENE         .               87
sent peremptory orders to Philip, the prefect of Constantinople, to expel Paul and to recognize Macedonius. By skilful arrangements Paul was quietly removed from the scene. But to install Macedonius was a more difficult undertaking. The prefect, however, ordered his chariot, and with Macedonius seated by his side made for S. Irene, under an escort of troops carrying drawn swords. The sharp, naked weapons alarmed the crowds in the streets, and without distinction of sect or class men rushed for the church, everybody trying to outstrip his neighbour in the race to get there first. Soon all the approaches to the building were packed to suffocation ; no one stirred backwards or forwards, and the prefect's chariot was unable to advance. What seemed a hostile barricade of human beings welded together obstructed his path. In vain did the soldiers brandish their swords in the hope of frightening the crowd to disperse. The crowd stood stock still, not because it would not, but because it could not move. The soldiers grew angry, resorted to their weapons, and cut a way to the church through that compact mass of humanity at the cost of 3150 lives ; some of the victims being crushed to death, others killed at the point of the sword. So was Macedonius conducted to his throne in the temple of Peace.1 But the conflict between the opposite parties continued, and after six years spent in efforts to recover his position, Paul was restored to office through the intervention of the Pope of Rome, of the Emperor Constans, and of the Synod of Sardica. It was a brief triumph. In 350 Paul was exiled for life to Cucusus, and Macedonius ruled once more in his stead.2 For the next thirty years S. Irene with the other churches of the capital remained in the hands of the Arians.
During that period the Nicene faith was preached by Gregory of Nazianzus only in a small chapel, subsequently dedicated to S. Anastasia.8 But with the accession of Theodosius the Great the adherents of the Creed of Nicaea prevailed, and the Second General Council, held in Constantinople in,381, adopted that creed as the true faith of the Christian Church.
1 Socrates, ii. c. 16.               2 Ibid. H. 13, 15, 16.               s Ibid. v. 7.